Belfast Telegraph

Pat Finucane's widow takes legal action against Secretary of State over public inquiry

Pat Finucane
Pat Finucane

The widow of murdered solicitor Pat Finucane has taken legal action against the Secretary of State in a move which ramps up pressure for a full-scale public inquiry into her husband’s murder.

Mr Finucane was shot dead in front of his family in north Belfast in February 1989 by loyalists in an attack found to have involved collusion.

The 39-year-old was shot 14 times while enjoying Sunday lunch at home with his family

It became one of the most notorious murders of the Troubles.

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court in London ruled that there has been no “effective investigation” into Mr Finucane’s murder, and that previous inquiries had not complied with the Finucane family’s human rights.

It also found that while Mrs Finucane had been given “an unequivocal undertaking” that there would be a public inquiry into the murder, the Government was justified in later deciding against holding one.

Mrs Finucane said yesterday:  “In February the Supreme Court ruled that all of the previous investigations into my husband’s murder were ineffective and did not meet the standards required by European human rights legislation, and that it was for the British Government to decide how to proceed in light of the Court’s judgment.

“Since that time two Secretaries of State have promised to meet with my family and our legal representatives in order to have meaningful discussions.

“No meetings have been offered and the Secretary of State has left me with no option but to bring court proceedings.”

Mrs Finucane’s solicitor Peter Madden confirmed that judicial review proceedings in the High Court were lodged todfay.

(Left to right) Michael Finucane, Geraldine Finucane and John Finucane, the family of murdered Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
(Left to right) Michael Finucane, Geraldine Finucane and John Finucane, the family of murdered Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

“Government should move to announce a full independent public inquiry with the powers t0 compel the production of documents and the public examination of witnesses” Mr Madden said.

After the Supreme Court ruling in February, Mrs Finucane called for a full-scale public enquiry — a call supported by  organisations such as Amnesty International, as well as Sinn Fein leader Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald.

Ms McDonald called the judgment a “watershed moment in the campaign for truth and justice”.

In response to Mrs Finucane's legal action a UK Government spokesperson said that the Northern Ireland Office "is assessing what steps need to be taken next”.

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